Coronavirus: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 15th April 2020.

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Photo of Sam Tarry Sam Tarry Labour, Ilford South

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the NHS will get an adequate supply of covid-19 testing kits and reagents.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government has bought 17.5 million antibody tests with ongoing orders for millions more.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are asking identified pathology network laboratories to start working up validation of commercially available kits that can be automated to further increase the available testing capacity across England. Once the test is validated and risk assessments have been completed, a 24 hours a day, seven days a week offering will be considered, and testing should be prioritised above other pathology tests as urgent and high priority, including the return of results.

The British In Vitro Diagnostics Association said the problem was a shortage of reagent kits in the global supply chain. While manufacturers are producing the kits as rapidly as they can, the firms are having to prioritise what products are shipped where.

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